Well, if you were looking for confirmation that there will be no strike, this is as close as we will get until the deal is signed. Sure, SAG is right to push back on clip usage without permission – what could be more central to the life of a professional actor than control over his or her image? Of course, there may be some valid business reasons for wanting to streamline the process of securing consent so that the industry can maximize the financial potential of promotional opportunities in the new media era. So finding common ground here is probably in the interests of both sides.
But the larger lesson is that moving from DVD residuals – a billion dollar issue – to clip usage – what, a multi-million dollar issue? – indicates how the momentum has shifted radically in these talks; and not to the advantage of the Actors.
It is only icing on the cake that McNary of Variety is widely believed to be close to the hard core element inside Membership First, which controls the bargaining committee now. That so much is being made of this issue suggests that the MF’ers are looking desperately for something that they can claim as a victory in order to save face after giving up on DVD residuals.